Hope, Lost and Found
June 21, 2023
I've spent 25 years trying to manage my mental illness and substance abuse. Countless medications, hospitalizations, unmet aspirations, and an overall inability to cope plagued me. I was incapable of comprehending how I, or anyone else, could live a life full of joy and contentment. On March 9, 2022, I attempted but, thankfully, failed to take my own life. The first 12 days were spent in a medically induced coma on a ventilator. Once weaned off the ventilator, I experienced a series of delirium hallucinations detailing horrific consequences of my poor life choices. After more than 20 vivid scenarios, I knew I never wanted to go to hell if those hallucinations were my purgatory. Regardless of my previous atheist beliefs, I knew I was being given a spiritual message. My last hallucination was followed by what I can only describe as a “white light” experience. It was actually a soft, yellow color that descended from the right side of my periphery and wrapped around me like a warm hug. I knew in that moment I was in the presence of the Holy Spirit, and God had saved me. It was a startling conviction for someone who had lost all hope. And I knew that if I was going to live, I had to live.
HopeWay Treatment Programs & Integrative Therapy
After my seven-week hospitalization, two of which were in a psychiatric unit, I was discharged home for intensive therapy. Enter the promise of HopeWay. I attended the 5 day-a-week program (Partial Hospitalization Program) for 8 weeks before stepping down to the 3 day-a-week evening program (Intensive Outpatient Program). During my time at HopeWay, I gained the coping mechanisms and communication skills I had lacked my entire adult life. The array of therapeutic modalities reinforced skills I need to succeed in life and cultivated new interests, which helped me develop confidence and pride. Art therapy and music therapy allowed me to express myself and positively change my mood. By attending the various groups, I found I enjoy gardening and value the science of nutrition. I had missed my former childhood musicality but reestablished that joy through music therapy, and I can even play African drums now. I still don’t particularly like meditating.
My mom and I have struggled with communication and trust over the years. Through CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) & DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy), HopeWay gave me tools to adjust my thinking, and better handle interactions with her and other important people in my life. These new approaches have altered my perception of a formerly hopeless reality. I know I can get through any situation with the tools from my “HopeWay toolbox.”
My time at HopeWay gave me the resources to become assured, confident, and accepting of myself.
Life After HopeWay
No longer crippled by anxiety, I am finally able to be a mother to my son and daughter. My time at HopeWay gave me the resources to become assured, confident, and accepting of myself. Slowly, the paralyzing guilt melted away, and I can finally nurture my children.
Earlier this year, I celebrated one year in recovery. The alcohol and substances I relied upon to escape reality are no longer necessary. I now live in reality, despite any challenges I encounter. I experience contentment every day knowing I have the knowledge and tools to cope and survive. What seemed like an eternal lack of hope transformed to gratitude and empowerment; HopeWay has forever changed my experience of life.
What seemed like an eternal lack of hope transformed to gratitude and empowerment; HopeWay has forever changed my experience of life.